Business

It's the ads we'll be watching

New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont’a Hightower addresses the media on Wednesday for Super Bowl LIII, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. (USA Today Sports)
New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont’a Hightower addresses the media on Wednesday for Super Bowl LIII, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. (USA Today Sports)

Let’s be honest. When you’re not glued to the Big Game this Sunday, you’ll likely be watching the commercials.

Nielsen reports that last year, more than two-thirds — 68 percent — of homes with TVs in use on Super Bowl Sunday were tuned into the Super Bowl telecast.

And there’s plenty of research to show that people watching the game look forward to the ads, which are as entertaining, if not more so, than the game.

So what makes a great Super Bowl ad? Viewers expect new and different, so at a minimum it must be entertaining. But is it effective in elevating the brand?

If you’re keeping score this year, here’s what to look for.

• Did the ad make an emotional connection with you?

• Was your reaction to the ad primarily positive?

• Did you talk about it on social media?

• Did the ad make the brand or product stand out? Did it focus on what makes the brand unique?

• Was the ad memorable not only for its entertainment value, but will you recall the brand itself the next day and beyond?

• And the million-dollar question — $5 million for advertisers who bought a 30-second spot: Will you buy the product or service?

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It’s worth noting there is no clear way to define the winner, but there are a series of metrics that marketers like to look at when evaluating a successful Super Bowl ad.

You’ll see viewer surveys, studies and statistics on the commercials after the game.

Among them:

• Which was the most viewed ad online?

• Which was the top ad on YouTube?

• Which brand had the most overall social mentions during the game or on that day?

• Which brand was the most talked about on Facebook and Twitter?

• The brands themselves will likely be monitoring for sales, reach, mentions, publicity value, share of voice, sentiment and other metrics.

Last, here’s who you will see this year, in alphabetical order:

• Anheuser-Busch ill run eight ads promoting Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra Stella Artois and Bon and Viv Spiked Seltzer.

• Audi will spotlight its electric car aspirations.

• Avocados from Mexico will kick off its “always worth it” campaign.

• Bubly, PepsiCo’s sparkling water brand, will make its Super Bowl debut with Canadian singer Michael Buble and comedian Aparna Nancherla.

• The Bumble dating app will air its first Super Bowl ad, “The Ball is in Her Court,” staring tennis pro Serena Williams. The ad was produced by a team of women.

• Devour, a brand by Kraft Hein frozen food, will focus on its crave-worthy frozen food. You might remember them from their 2016 campaign “Food you want to fork.”

• Doritos, also a PepsiCo brand, will promote its newest flavor, Flamin’ Hot Nacho. The spot will feature Chance the Rapper and Backstreet Boys singing, “I Want It That Way.”

• Expensify’s ad will feature two celebrities and a twist on filing expense reports.

• Hyundai will use Jason Bateman and its “shopper assurance” program meant to modernize the car-buying experience.

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l Kia has not yet released any details on its spot this year, but you may remember they’ve used celebrity power in the past with Steven Tyler, Melissa McCarthy, Christopher Walken and Pierce Brosnan.

• M&M’s also is mum on its ad for this year, but it has announced the spot will “see the return of fan-favorite spokescandies, along with big news.”

• Mercedes-Benz will feature its character Ludacris and promote its A-class vehicle.

• National Football League’s ad will kick off the celebration of the NFL’s 100th season, which begins after the game. Plans for the year include naming an “All-Time Team” and the 10 greatest coaches in NFL history.

• Olay, one of Procter & Gamble’s brands, hasn’t disclosed details of its first Super Bowl spot yet, but it claims it will be “unexpected” and designed to feature the killer skin transformation that women have come to expect from Olay.

• Pepsi will run a spot for its flagship beverage but hasn’t disclosed any details yet.

• Persil ProClean will bring back its character “the Professional” played by “Younger” star Peter Mermann.

• Planters’ ad will feature the Mr. Peanut character and a celebrity with the tagline “always there in crunch time.” Motley Crue might be doing the music.

• Pringles will return to the Super Bowl with its new “flavor stacking” commercial. The ads will feature a voice assistant similar to Alexa or Google Home.

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• Total already has released its ad. You can Google it on YouTube. In it, Luke Wilson gets close to his colleagues showing the toothpaste’s power. You can view it now at https://bit.ly/2MJj7wf.

• Toyota will promote the RAV4 crossover, but few details have been released yet.

• TurboTax will promote an undisclosed creative.

• Turkish airlines will run a spot.

• Verizon will thank first responders for saving 12 NFL stars in its Super Bowl spot.

• WeatherTech will run something about its products.

So enjoy the commercials ... uh, I mean the Big Game.

• Tracy Pratt is a product manager and lead marketing strategist at Fusionfarm, a division of Folience, The Gazette’s parent company; (319) 398-8343; tracy@fusionfarm.com.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.